Not going anywhere this February break? Great! We hear it’s lovely in Westchester this time of year. And there’s certainly plenty to do, whether your plan is to bundle up the kids and head outdoors, or hang out around the house in your pajamas all week long. Here are 50 ideas on how to spend your week.
1. Take a winter hike. We’ve got kid-friendly trail routes for Rye Beach and Croton Gorge (you just might spot a deer!), as well as pointers for ice hunting at River Walk in Tarrytown.
2. Let the kids loose at an indoor play space. Northern Westchester readers: here are some additional places to play closer to you!
3. Go to the movies. Alamo Movies Theater in Yonkers is featuring the original Annie at 11am on Feb. 15, 16, 17 and 18. Or if your kids are more into animals than musicals, drive up to the IMAX theater at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, where they’ll be showing nature movies such as Flight of the Butterflies and Humpback Whales.
4. Break out the slow cooker and avoid spending all day thinking about what to make for dinner. We’ve got some great recipes for carnitas tacos and chicken tortilla soup.
5. Hop on the train and take a ride into the city. Some cool things to check out with the kids: the SeaGlass Carousel down in Battery Park and the Children’s Museum of the Arts, just off the West Side Highway.
6. Or don’t hop on the train, and just watch them go by instead. Grab lunch at Valhalla Crossing near the station, a cute little restaurant housed in two converted train cars, with a designated room for train spotting while dining. For other great places to dine and spot trains, check out this past post. Choo-choo!
7. Howl with the wolves at Wolf Conservation Center’s family winter howl on Feb. 19. Take a sunset hike to visit the wolves at their favorite hour (dusk), let out your best howl, and end with hot beverages in front of a wood stove. Registration is required, and everyone must bring flashlights – fun! If all this is happening way past your kid’s bedtime, the center is also running an 11am “winter wolves for kids” program every weekday during the holiday break.
8. Lace up the skates and hit one of these Westchester ice rinks.
9. Skydive with the kids! iFly, an indoor skydiving center that just opened at Ridge Hill a couple of months ago, welcomes kids as young as 3! Float on a cushion of air to simulate the experience of freefall.
10. Warm up with some ramen. Ramen Q’s in Scarsdale is our local favorite, but there’s also great ramen to be slurped at Mokomiya in White Plains and Roc-N-Ramen in New Rochelle.
11. Learn something new at a science museum. There are two fantastic ones just a short car-trip away – the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City and the New York Hall of Science in Queens.
12. Hit the slopes for a day of skiing at a small, family-friendly mountain.
13. Take a mini vacation that’s within driving distance from Westchester. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery (and a hotel pool).
14. Enjoy a high-energy Celtic dance show at Westchester Community College in Valhalla on Feb. 14, where StepCrew, an Irish step-dancing group, will be performing, backed by a five-piece band. All ages are welcome; reservations required.
15. Treat your winter-weary skin and lungs to some salt therapy at Breathe Easy in Dobbs Ferry and Katonah. Kids are welcome in the family room, which is set up with sand toys and kid-size chairs. Who needs the beach?
16. Check out Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, which bills itself as a four-season farm. Entry is free in the winter! Visit the animals and greenhouse, or pay extra to take the family farm tour.
17. Dine at one of the new Westchester restaurants covered in our latest roundup.
18. Paint some pottery (or plaster, if you want to save a few bucks). Made in Mamaroneck, Plaster Palace in Larchmont, Fun Craft in Scarsdale, and A Maze in Pottery in Briarcliff Manor all take walk-ins.
19. Make a birthday celebration box with your kids and donate it to a local child in need. It’s a great snowy day project that your children will find meaningful.
20. Take a hot chocolate tour. We found the best cups in Westchester. Or make your own hot cocoa at home and top it with fun whipped cream shapes. Yum!
21. Shop at an indoor farmers’ market. Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have to stop buying fresh veggies and locally made goodies. There are markets open most Saturdays in Chappaqua, Hastings, Mamaroneck, Ossining and Pleasantville.
22. View the winter night sky from the Hudson Valley Museum’s state-of-the-art planetarium. It’s amazing. Seriously.
23. Bake healthy, yummy mini frittata muffins with the kids – we’ve got recipes for three different kinds.
24. Check out a maple sugaring event. There are programs at Rye Nature Center on Feb. 13 and 20, Katonah’s Muscoot Farm on Feb. 14 and 21, and Stamford Museum & Nature Center on Feb. 21.
25. Celebrate National Bird Feeding Month. Buy some birdseed and make simple bird-feeders with these easy craft ideas.
26. Catch a local show. Moon Mouse, a kids’ production that uses luminescent black light to deliver the story about a mouse’s cosmic adventure, is playing at the Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck on Feb. 13.
27. Make beef stew for dinner. Because nothing warms the heart in the middle of February like beef stew.
28. Start thinking about the spring. Now’s the time to plant seedlings! If you need guidance, Lasdon Park in Katonah is hosting a free program on the very subject on Feb. 21. All attendees will take home their planted seeds. Call to register.
29. Round up some kids and have a chocolate-making play date at Chocolate Works in Scarsdale.
30. Go to the mall – specifically, the ginormous Palisades Mall in Nyack, just over the Tappan Zee Bridge. You’ll find endless entertainment, including a bowling alley, an ice-skating rink, a ropes course, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, an escape room, a virtual reality ride and a movie theater – plus, of course, hundreds of shops and restaurants!
31. Take a cooking class with the kids. Sur La Table (locations in Yonkers and White Plains) is offering a Valentine’s Day family baking class on Feb. 13 and 14, while Williams-Sonoma in White Plains is hosting a madeleine-making class on Feb. 20. Reserve your spots in advance.
32. Get a head start on spring cleaning. It’s so easy to donate your old toys, clothes, book and baby gear — some organizations will even pick up from your house!
33. Go to the circus. The Royal Hanneford Circus comes to the Westchester County Center in White Plains Feb. 13 to 15. Just the right size for the younger set, this traditional three-ring circus features everything from tigers to tightrope walkers.
34. Have your kids practice reading aloud to a therapy dog at the library — how cute is that? Scarsdale’s Wag Your Tale program is happening on Feb. 13 (registration is required), while Mount Kisco’s Read to Rover program takes place Feb. 18 (just walk in).
35. Put the kids to bed early (here’s a book that’ll knock ’em right out), mix up some winter cocktails (Bourbon butterscotch lattes, anyone?), and enjoy a cozy date night at home.
36. Have a real-life tea party at a place that offers afternoon tea service. Silver Tips Tea Room in Tarrytown, Lola’s Tea House in Mamaroneck, and Kathleen’s Tea Room in Peekskill are all fine options. Pinkies up!
37. See – and make – art at one of Westchester’s great museums. The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers and Katonah Museum of Art both offer a “school’s out, art’s in” program during the break; admission for kids is free and each museum is featuring art workshops based on the current exhibits.
38. Have a family game night. Here are the board games we love playing in our own households! Or check out Monkey Pod Games’ factory store in Mamaroneck, a neat little shop that makes eco-friendly games and puzzles, including wooden versions of Connect Four and Othello.
39. Take a spin on an indoor carousel. Some nearby favorites: the Bug Carousel at the Bronx Zoo, the Bear Mountain Carousel, and the double-decker Palisades Center Carousel in Nyack.
40. Turn your kids’ art projects into a lovely gallery wall.
41. Visit a children’s museum. Stepping Stones Museum for Children is worth crossing the border into Connecticut. And the brand new Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye is open for business, even as construction continues. Admission is pay-as-you-wish.
42. Enjoy the great indoors. If you’re stuck in the house with a small baby, here are some ideas for things to do at home.
43. Sign up for an art class. The Clay Art Center in Port Chester, Young At Art in Scarsdale, and The Rye Arts Center are all offering ways to get creative this week. Registration is required for these classes.
44. Or if you’d rather not commit to a class, drop in on a free art workshop at Lakeshore Learning in Scarsdale. The store runs the workshop every Saturday from 11am to 3pm for kids ages 3 and up.
45. While away an afternoon at The Voracious Reader, a lovely children’s bookstore in Larchmont. Free weekly story hours for the younger ones.
46. Travel to the time of knights and princesses at Wave Hill in the Bronx on Feb. 16, 17 and 18. Kids ages 5 and up can build, decorate and populate their own medieval castle. Registration is required.
47. Treat yourself to a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich for lunch – and maybe let the kids have a bite or two.
48. Take a free guided nature walk at the Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale. Specially trained “trail ninjas” provide information on the plants and wildlife that you encounter. The walks are approximately 45 minutes long, suitable for all ages, and take place on Saturdays and Sundays in February.
49. Jump the sillies out at Rockin’ Jump, an indoor trampoline park in Mt. Kisco. Boing!
50. Put a TV show on for the kids and take a nap. Go on. You’ve earned it. It’s vacation, after all!